July SXSW Collaboration: Writing Chapter One



For this month’s July SXSW collaboration, Valerie and I are talking about starting anew. We both have finished our trilogies, and we are both embarking on the journey of creating a new series. I have to be honest; it really did take me awhile to get excited to begin writing again. I was still so wrapped up in The Skye Trilogy that I had a hard time saying goodbye, but now that the time has come to publish my third book, Isle of Dawn, I am feeling the proverbial butterflies in my stomach.

Before I even begin to write I always buy a fresh notebook and sit-down to outline my book. I start off with writing the characters, where the book is going to take place and a short plot summary. I then delve a little deeper with an outline of the book as a whole. I think it is important to get those details done first so you can have them for a reference later as you are writing.

The next thing I do is the chapter outlines. Now, I don’t always follow them religiously but I do like to keep them in my rearview mirror as much as possible. Usually when I hit the middle of a book I go back over them and adjust my former vision to fit where I’m now at in the writing process.

Then it’s time to daydream. Yes, I said daydream folks. I like to sit and write the book out in my head for a few weeks. I think it’s of the utmost importance to see the story in your head before you start writing. I know it sounds a little weird but trust me when I say that I would much rather have a clearer picture of my characters and my story before I begin writing.

Lastly, it’s time for the real deal. No more notes, no more daydreams, and no more talking. The first chapter is the hardest chapter to write. Period. End of story. Class is dismissed. To be honest, the first page is really the killer. You want to establish the entire book and the direction it is headed right away or else your readers will say sayonara, so long, see you later, I would rather be sleeping than reading this crap.

No pressure or anything.

When you finish writing the first chapter of your book, it’s like; a giant weight has been lifted off your shoulders. You did it; you started a book. Yes, there’s a lot more work ahead of you but live in the moment, forget about the past, and be hopeful of the future.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to follow my own advice and start writing! My next series will be called The Fae Witch Series, and it will be a spin-off The Skye Trilogy. I’m hoping for the first book, The Cursed Charm, to be published in February… That is, if I ever get past writing the first chapter!



Valerie’s Viewpoint:

This month Shannon Barczak and I decided to write about starting over. With both of our trilogies completed we have each begun writing new projects. We each have different experiences with this and we wanted to share it with you all.  

This is the first book that I have written that does not begin with Harlow Whittaker & 

And to be perfectly honest it is rather refreshing. To be able to bury myself inside of another world, with a whole other list of characters has been my salvation in a way.  Last time we discussed saying goodbye and how hard it was to end our respective trilogies, well bear with me as I try and explain the other side of that.  

Writing has always been my escape and since currently my life is filled with a series of new beginnings, change, although the only constant in life, can also be very scary, even when it’s for the better.  Having a new project, something to distract me, that demands my full attention is a tremendous gift.

Ideas for this book, which is a sci-fi alien invasion novel, started seeping into my mind before I started writing the final installment in my YA Trilogy and I would jot down notes like, character names or simple plot ideas and when I did finally sit down to start writing I had notes inside of various magazines, backs of receipts and a worn out yellow spiral notebook that I keep next to my bed in case I get an idea first thing in the morning (or I just have an obnoxious/nocturnal character that keeps me up all night). And I try and string all the notes together-they serve as plot points and I fill in all the story.

It may not be the most organized or even coherent way to do it but it’s my process.  And somehow I decipher my rushed handwriting and incorporate it all until it’s one cohesive story that I then let sit for a few months before I read it and edit it for the first time.  I think the trick is to do what works for you no matter how ‘crazy’ it may sound to the rest of us, as long as the work get’s done right?

Surprisingly starting a new project wasn’t necessarily difficult instead it was more like a friend that helped me to cope with the ending of my trilogy. Writing my new book helped me to move forward from my other characters.  It proved to me that once again books were my comfort and my therapy. 

Want more Valerie? Check out her links!






Isle of Dawn Early Release!

Isle of Dawn book cover


Twenty years ago I sat down to write a book and I failed miserably. Over the years I secretly thought about several different stories and how I would go about writing them but I never had the courage. Almost a year ago I sat down to create the story that I knew I had to get out of my head and on to the computer screen.

Today my dreams have become a reality.

I decided to release Isle of Dawn, The Skye Trilogy, and Scrumptious Skye Confections a few weeks early. To be honest, it’s been done for over a week now but I was still hesitant. I wanted to hold on to them a little bit longer. In a way, I guess, I wanted to keep this book to myself as long as possible.

Isle of Dawn is so much more to me than book three of my trilogy. It’s a culmination of  my dreams, my goals, long nights and a sense of accomplishment that I have never felt before in any thing I have ever done besides becoming a mother. This is the end of my characters journey but in reality is just the beginning for me. I don’t want to say goodbye and I have finally come to the realization that I don’t have to bid farewell to the characters I have come to know and love.

To be able to publish my books is not only a way for me to reach other readers that hopefully are like me but it is also a way for me to preserve my thoughts and my writing for me to enjoy. I can’t tell you the thrill I get seeing my name on a book cover and I hope I never become jaded enough to dismiss those butterflies that are floating in my stomach.

This project was a long time in the making and today I realized that it wasn’t so much my writing that was the project but myself as an individual.

I am a published author of a trilogy and a cookbook.

Yeah, this past year really just happened… Holy Moley!

I hope my readers enjoy the conclusion with Isle of Dawn and I really hope they love the cookbook because that was a lot of fun to write!


Isle of Dawn:



Skye Trilogy Box Set:



Scrumptious Skye Confections Cookbook:



Isle of Night Free 7/17-7/21/2014

Isle of night book cover 3


I just wanted to write a quick update. I decided to take advantage of Kindle Publishing’s Free promo days for Isle of Night. The book will be available to download from 7/17-7/21/2014. I thought it would be a great chance for everyone to read book two before Isle of Dawn, book three of the Skye Trilogy, is released which is only two short weeks away!!!

I submitted a few notifications on websites that specialize in advertising Free Kindle Books and I was so excited to receive an email a few hours later from FreeBooksy saying that they were going to feature my book on the front page of their website!

They even gave me this cute little badge.


I hope everyone enjoys the book and I am also extremely anxious to finish formatting Isle of Dawn because I am so proud of this book. I cannot wait for everyone to read it and I hope you love the story as much as I do!

You can pick up your free copy here:


or here:



Need to catch up on the Skye Trilogy? Download book one, Isle of Skye now!



Book three, Isle of Dawn, will be released on July 31, 2014!


Isle of Dawn book cover


Isle of Dawn Teaser!

Isle of Dawn book cover


I thought it would be fun to give everyone a little sample of Isle of Dawn! I’m sorry to say that I am not posting the whole first chapter because honestly there is a lot of things that go on in this chapter but I did think it would be great to give everyone just a little taste of the book.

I am also so proud of this book and how it came out in the end. I really am excited to finally publish it out into the Kindle world July 31!

Enjoy~ Shannon


Chapter One

Five days earlier…

“Did he seriously just mouth the words I love you?” I asked in disbelief

“Willa now isn’t the time…” Patcoena started to say

“Oh, believe me now is the time.” I said. “I cannot believe that just happened. I also can’t believe the prick did that to me right when the portal was closing, and I couldn’t respond.”

“Willa, I realize that this is a tremendous moment for you but can we focus…”

“It’s a tremendous moment?” I asked. “It’s not just a tremendous moment; it is a huge fucking moment.”

Patcoena sighed and looked away. I knew that getting worked up over Mathias, and his last second declaration of I love you was in the grand scheme of things somewhat silly, but I couldn’t help feeling an amazing amount of happiness and irritation all at the same time. I had just poured out my heart to him before I stepped through the portal, and that’s his send off to me.

I realized that for him to even think, let alone utter, those words were pretty monumental but still maybe a little whisper in my ear before I left to wander into dangerous parts unknown would’ve been a better decision.

“It’s just so unreal, because he was standing right in front of me a few seconds earlier. He totally could’ve said that to me then. Do you think he mouthed that to me because he thinks I’m never coming back?”

“I don’t know Willa.” Patcoena said warily

“Well, I have news for him,” I said. “Not only am I coming back but if I have to tie him up and torture him by singing bad 80’s music until he says it out loud again I will.”

“That sounds like a grand plan.” Patcoena replied

“Yeah,” I snorted. “Everybody Wang Chong tonight is all I got to say.”

“Willa, we just stepped through a portal to a whole another realm,” Patcoena asked. “Can we get back to our mission here?”

“Right, sorry,” I said before I stopped abruptly. The Fire realm was not something that I could have ever imagined in my wildest dreams. No wonder my father had such a hard time trying to explain it to me.

A barren landscape of black and gray ash spread out before as far as the eye could see. There were no signs of life or vegetation anywhere. In the distance, I spied black, rolling mountains. It looked like a dry, remote desert covered in sooty charcoal sand. At first I thought there were some reddish orange trees that dotted the hillside, but, the more I looked, the more I could see that it wasn’t trees or flowers, but honest to goodness lava flowing down the sides.

“Umm, this may sound like a stupid question but are those active volcanoes?” I asked

“Yes, of course.” Patcoena answered

“Did you not think that maybe that might have been something you could’ve disclosed?”

“It’s called the Fire realm for a reason Willa,” Patcoena said, almost amused. “What did you think would be here?”

“Not live volcanoes that shoot out massive amounts of hot molten lava.” I said. “Call me crazy but the thought that I would have to dodge freaking lava didn’t enter my mind.”

“I think it’s quite beautiful in a stark and simplistic way.”

“Yeah, it’s fabulous.” I scoffed. “As a matter of fact I’m thinking of building a summer home here.”

Patcoena shook his head and kept walking. I followed leisurely while my mind tried to take everything in around me. A year ago I was happily running my bakery, Yummy Yuma, in my hometown of Yuma, Arizona. I had a small, but great circle of friends, parents that adored me, and a normal existence. My life changed almost seven months ago when on the night of parent’s anniversary they had come home in a panic.

Our enemies had discovered them, enemies that I had never known we even had. The Rau were evil vampires that hunted and craved our rich magical blood. Centuries before it had been Gypsies that placed a curse on a vicious beast that had been terrorizing the Clan of Skye’s village. Instead of turning the beast into a harmless human the curse had backfired, and with that, the vampire had been created. Their goal in life was simple, to find Gypsies and kill or kidnap us so they could feast on the distinctive fluid that flowed through our veins.

My mother was a Gypsy princess, and my father was a Fae prince. They had run away together many years ago because their love was pretty much taboo. Only Fae could have children with one another, so any mingling of our races was frowned upon by both the Fae and the Gypsies. I am the only known child conceived of both races. I inherited not only my mother’s Caster powers but my father’s Fae powers as well.

I also just found out that long ago there had been a prophecy told of my existence. I was not just a powerful hybrid, but I was also destined to be the fabled Fae Sanctity or as I like to call myself, a weapon of mass destruction. Patcoena and his wife Summer had hatched a plan with the former King of the Fae, my great grandfather Cormagglia, to ensure that the Fae Lords of each realm did not try to overthrow his daughter, my father’s mother, Sidra.

King Cormagglia had traveled to each realm within Fairlia and in a particular place had unleashed his powerful magic of the element that originated there. Summer, a sightseer, had foreseen that one or all of the Fae Lords would eventually try to make a power grab. I am the only one that can absorb the King’s power, and I am also the only one who can help destroy the enemies of my grandmother.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite sure which Lord was evil and which was too scared to go against this powerful mastermind. My money was on either Lord Machall of the Fire realm or Lord Fonn of the Air realm.

A week before a witch vampire named Sabine broke down the protective barriers for our island. Instead of sitting waiting patiently, I charged into the fight with my guns blazing. I was not just a weapon of mass destruction to the Fae, but I was also a Rau killing machine. My purple freaky flames and my poisonous blood could kill any vampire.

I essentially had saved the island and the residents by killing over five hundred Rau that Sabine had brought in to kill or capture any Gypsies while she kidnapped me so she could take my powers from my body for herself and this Fae Lord. I had used not only my deadly flames, but my amazing ability to control the elements as well.

My blood was deadly to all but one vampire. My mate, my Guardian, and the biggest pain in the ass, Mathias was the only vampire that was unsusceptible to my toxic blood. I had never tested out my freaky flames on him but somehow I suspected he was immune to its flaming wrath.

Until very recently we all thought Mathias to be a Guardian of the Solas. A human that was made into a vampire unwillingly and clung to their humanity turned into these powerful vampires. They have been our protectors on the Isle of Skye for centuries. In return for our rich blood, they served as our bodyguards. I had figured out a while ago when we came back from a mission to rescue my aunt and cousin from the Rau that Mathias was not just a Guardian of Solas.

He was also part Rau. Mathias’s eyes that glowed red from time to time tipped me off initially, but it wasn’t until we found Patcoena that we also realized he was part Gypsy and Fae as well. Apparently, Mathias’s grandparents had both been descended from our clan. After a horrible childhood, Mathias had come home the night before his wedding to find his scumbag brother and father, who had turned Rau, had also killed his beloved sister.

Mathias’s father had turned him so that he could use Mathias’s wealth and money making skills to keep him comfortable for his unnaturally long life. Patcoena had seen Mathias’s anger and poured part of his soul into Mathias so he wouldn’t become Rau completely because Mathias had been destined to be my watcher.

The thing that sucked the most was, after months of dancing around each other, Mathias and I had finally succumbed to our feelings for one another. We were true mates in every sense of the word. Not only could we speak to each other with our minds but we had formed an intense connection, both emotionally and physically.

To be honest, the Rau and these wussy Fae Lords were starting to irritate the piss out of me. Instead of basking in my newfound love and energetic sex life I had to absorb some great power which could either kill me or turn me into a nutcase. Apparently if I survived all of that, I then had to fight and kill who was ever trying to destroy not only the Fae but the Gypsies as well.

Yay for me, I thought sarcastically. I suppose it was just another day in my new fucked up normal life.

“So, I’m gathering from your purposeful stride that you know where we’re going here?” I asked

“Not exactly,” Patcoena answered

“What do you mean not exactly?” I asked. “Not exactly as in you’re not sure but have a general idea or not exactly as in you have no clue of the location of this cave?”

“The King did not tell me or anyone else the exact location.” Patcoena answered uneasily

I stopped and grabbed his arm. “Do you mean to tell me that you have no idea as to where we have to travel to in any part of the realms to find this great power that I am supposed to absorb into my body?”

“I have every confidence that when we are close to its origins that the fire will call out to you.” Patcoena said. “You already have an extraordinary amount of control over the elements. I fully believe that when we are approaching the area near to where the King placed his source of magical energy, you will naturally gravitate towards it on your own.”

“But that could take forever!” I yelled. “I have no idea how big these realms are, but I’m pretty sure that it takes more than a day to go from one end to the other.”

“That’s why I have procured us a guide to help us on this quest.” Patcoena said

“You didn’t say anything about a guide Patty boy.” I said suspiciously. “It was supposed to be just you and me.”

“Unfortunately, I only just realized the scope of what this may entail.”

“Mathias is going to flip his freaking lid.” I muttered. “Do you have any idea what he is going to do when he finds out that there is a guide going with us on this power nature walk?”

“I’m confident Mathias is going to be more than fine with my choice of guides,” he said. “Well, with one of them.”

“There are two guides?” I asked. “Listen, old man, you have one minute to explain all of this before I bail and leave you here all alone.”

“I know that you have no reason to trust me Willa but there are a few things that I have kept from you for your own protection.”

“Forty, thirty-nine, thirty-eight…”

“I’m not sure where we need to look, but Summer had a vision the night before we left, of the two guides that will help us find our way,” he answered. “You may not fully trust me Willa but I am confident you trust one of these two men with your life.”

“Who is it?” I asked shortly

“He will be here very soon.”

I let out a long, shaky breath. I wanted to trust Patcoena, but the fact was I didn’t know him well enough nor was I going to put my life or the lives of everyone I love in his hands. I decided to be on guard from this moment forward.

“You’re walking a fine line right now.” I said seriously

“I realize that,” he said. “The last thing I ever want to do is to make you feel uncomfortable or uneasy in my presence but trust me when I say this is imperative to our quest.”

“I thought you said only you and I were to go on this mission.” I reminded him. “You specifically said that this was something only we could do. Christ, Summer, showed me what would’ve happened if Mathias had come with us. She said that Lord Fonn and the Rau would’ve killed him or was that vision false?”

“No, that was real,” he said. “Like I said, this vision had hit her hard right before we left to go to Mathias’s island. I didn’t want to concern Mathias with the change of plans because his fate would’ve been the same with or without these two guides.”

“So are we to meet these two mystery men somewhere specific or are we just wandering around waiting for them to find us?”

“On the other side of the volcano to the east of us is the meeting place.” Patcoena said pointing to a large black and orange land mass

“Great and how are we getting over the spouting volcano?” I asked

“I was hoping you could teleport us there of course,” he answered innocently. “I would do it but you’re younger.”

“Sure,” I said. “Why don’t we teleport off into the unknown on the other side of freaking volcano that has hot liquid squirting everywhere? Sounds like a great idea.”

“Willa, need I remind you that you are the most powerful being on the planet?” he asked. “Surely, a little lava doesn’t frighten you?”

“I’m sorry; did you just ask me if a little lava frightens me?” I asked in disbelief. “Do I get cell service here? I feel like calling in to a radio station so I could get millions of people’s opinions on whether or not volcanic lava should freak me out. You know, like those crappy morning radio shows, where someone calls in and says ‘OH I think my husband’s cheating on me. I found some texts and lipstick on his underwear, but I’m not sure. What does everyone think?’ and then all kinds of random, angry and slightly amused people call in to tell her what an idiot she is and girl power and don’t worry you’ll survive and all that crap. Yeah, that’s what I need to do.”

“What?” Patcoena asked confused

“Yes!” I yelled. “Yes, I am afraid of freaking hot, burn my skin off on contact liquid substance known as LAVA!

Patcoena sighed. “We’ll be fine. I have complete faith in your abilities.”

“Do you?” I asked. “Can you call my grandmother Winifred and tell her that?”

“Willa.” Patcoena said sternly

“Fine,” I said. “But don’t get mad at me if you lose the first few layers of your skin.”

“You’ll do splendidly, I’m sure,” he said reassuringly. “Now picture the same area like this one on the other side, only that side has a small country house in the valley.”

“There is a country house on the other side of the volcano?” I asked. “You mean to tell me someone built a home for rest and relaxation here?”

“Yes,” he said

“I can’t wait to meet this person.” I said. “I’m sure we’ll have a lot in common.”

Patcoena grabbed my hands and stared at me. I took a deep breath and tried to imagine us shooting up and over the volcano. Even though, it was very quick, I could still feel the heat of the land mass as we ascended around the volcano. When I felt my feet on stable ground, I quickly took inventory and was relieved that my body wasn’t on fire.

I looked around and was surprised. The other side of the volcanos reminded me a little bit of where I grew up in Arizona. The black and gray landscape, where I initially had opened the portal, was now replaced with rich brownish red sand. Scraggly brown trees and cacti dotted amongst the surface. In the distance, I could see sharp rock formations jut up towards the sky.

“Wow, it is so freaky here,” I remarked in wonderment

“It looks a lot like home, doesn’t it?” Patcoena asked

Before I could reply, I heard someone yell my name, and I turned toward the long, white stucco house that shone brightly in the late afternoon sun. I almost thought I might be seeing a mirage but when I realized the person running towards me was real, I broke out into a run.




Isle of Dawn will be available to download July 31,2014!


To make or not make a Book Trailer?


For a long time now I have struggled with the idea of making a book trailer. Every author seems to have one for their book nowadays but a lot of them have a little bit of the cheese factory going on and not the good kind people. When I started researching how to make one, I came across various sites which tell us authors to definitely make one for your book BUT they all pretty much suck in the end.

What? I felt like I was reading a new medication leaflet. This will help you tremendously but you may die or develop some hideous other disease.


Now not all the ones I have seen are that cringe worthy but there was a bit of cheesiness in the air. Some book trailers were like the oh so bad for you but you love them Cheetos variety and some were just downright I-bought-this-bag-at-the-dollar-store-God-Help-Me awful. I decided with a little help from a tutorial and my amazing teenage sons to take the plunge into the dairy pool.

I do not think we will be receiving any awards for these, in my opinion pretty fantastic trailers, but I have to say I did get a little thrill to see all three of my books in a movie like format.

I only hope you don’t throw popcorn at the screen or cringe…well you can cringe a little, it’s cool, I probably would too but it’s my boys first attempt at cinematography greatness.

Isle of Skye Book Trailer:

Isle of Night Book Trailer:

Isle of Dawn Book Trailer:


Now back to my editing and formatting writing cave




Getting to know Rebecca P. McCray

radio microphone


I am disturbingly happy to be back working after a little vacation that I took at Casa de Barczak. Although I loved having a few movie marathons with my kids, I am now ready to get back into the swing of things. A few weeks ago I contacted a fellow author on Twitter and asked if she would be interested in doing an interview. I was very happy when she agreed because the one thing that I have surprisingly loved about being on Twitter is the amazing people you get to know.

Rebecca McCray is a very interesting and intelligent author. Her book, The Journey of the Marked Heir ( The Miyran Heir, Book One) has been compared to the Fablehaven and Beyonders series, both of which my son Wyatt enjoys very much. When I told him about this book he was excited to read it and I am pleased to say that he is enjoying the story very much. He also thinks it’s pretty cool that I was able to interview this author so chalk one up for dear old mom!

So without further adieu I give you my interview with Rebecca McCray:

1)      How did you come up with the idea for your book ‘The Miyran Heir’?

Just to be clear, The Miyran Heir is the series. The Journey of the Marked is book one.

I’m always creating stories. A recurring theme involved an advanced species, a concept which I amended over time. That species was my starting point as protector for a world that serves as a safe haven for other species, but the story evolved considerably from that point. I wanted to create a story that was both entertaining and thought-provoking. So while the story has the typical fantasy flare to it, I’ve also started laying the ground work for a look at persecution. What I think will be fascinating is how each species responds to it. Will they overcome their barriers and stand together, or will the very premise of acceptance on which the world was established crumble?

2)      What sort of research did you do for the book?

My research falls outside of what would normally considered research. I’m an avid reader/watcher of fantasy and science fiction. Since my story takes place on another world and with a variety of new species, I can push the limits of what’s “normal.” Therefore, I didn’t spend time hunting down information on many topics. With that said, I did spend quite a bit of time googling bladed weapons.

3)      Why did you pick this particular genre?

I have a very vivid, dark, and inventive imagination. Trust me when I say my mind creates some crazy things. Fantasy allows me to explore my ideas. Plus, I find it significantly more entertaining to build a world from scratch rather than be restricted by the limits of our world.

4)      What is the most surprising thing you have learned in the writing process?

It’s the little parts of the story that are the hardest to track, but they are the ones that hold the story together. For example, early in my story, a fighter severs the hand of her opponent before she’s killed. Many chapters later, that hand is mounted by her casket as a symbol of her strength. The hand itself is a small detail, yet critical for connecting the pieces of the story. After the story was written, I let it continue to play out in my head to help me identify any of those little pieces that I had failed to connect.

5)      What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I have a tendency to include these off-the-wall one-liners that certain readers find humorous and others don’t seem to notice. If I stuck solely to my imagination, the story would be dark from beginning to end. As I wanted to balance the darkness with light moments, I included snippets of humor throughout. However, my humor can be a little off-beat at times.

6)      Editing is the bane of every writer’s existence, do you have any tips on how you go about this arduous task?

From what I’ve been told, I edit more than many authors. I write a few chapters, then edit them. Write a bit more, but then edit from the beginning. I find this approach helpful, though, because it prevents me from becoming so engrossed in my story that I forget I’m supposed to be editing (this has happened). However, I think the best tip I have is something that worked well for me in the last editing phases for my first book. I broke the book into parts and focused on editing one part at a time. This kept the editing process more manageable and helped me concentrate on the technical aspects of writing.

Funny story about editing: Due to the large number of unusual names (species, characters, creatures, etc.), I overloaded the spellcheck feature in Word. I had to add them all to my dictionary. I suppose that’s a hazard of writing a fantasy novel set on a different world.

7)      Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Keep reading and exploring ideas. I doubt there’s a successful author out there that isn’t an avid reader. Also, write what you enjoy. When I started writing my story, I was writing for myself and no one else. After I had been writing a while, I began to think others might enjoy my tale. At that point, I really fleshed it out and developed it fully. While I’m thrilled people like my story, in the end, I’m still writing it because I love it.

8)      Who are some of your favorite authors that inspire you?

Tolkien, of course. I also found the Harry Potter world fascinating and well crafted. In addition to fantasy / sci-fi, I read mysteries and thrillers, enjoying authors such as Janet Evanovich, J.D. Robb (love her world), Tony Hillerman, Robert Ludlum, Stieg Larsson, etc. While these may seem disconnected from fantasy, there are still styles and ideas that I can glean from them. Furthermore, I’m a complete sci-fi / fantasy junkie: Firefly, Lord of the Rings, Hobbit, Star Trek, X-men, Avengers, Iron Man, Battlestar Galactica, etc.

9)      What is your next project and when will it be available?

I’m currently working on the second book of The Miyran Heir series. I’m targeting late 2015 for publication.

10)   What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever googled?

Well, I’m certain that anyone watching me Google a wide variety of bladed weapons would wonder. I also googled most of the names I used in the book to make sure the ones that should be distinct are. My biggest disappointment was when I discovered that “Myran” was a fragrance from an aromatic balm. I had to change the spelling!


Want more Rebecca? Check her out on these links!







June SXSW Collaboration: The End of the Beginning



It’s over. It’s done. It’s finished. Those three phrases are almost heart wrenching when it comes to writing a trilogy. On one hand, you feel like you have accomplished something truly extraordinary while on the other you feel an immense sense of sadness. It’s hard to put into words the emotions that are running through your entire being when you finish writing a book, when you write a trilogy those feelings are magnified even more so.

Valerie and I have both finished writing our third books to our respective trilogies, and I am again amazed at how our lives are almost running in sync with one another. She was the first person I sent an email to when I finished. I knew if anyone could relate to what I was going through; it was her. A few weeks later I received an email from her telling me she had just completed her third book crying, and I understood exactly what she was feeling.

The characters in my book have been my constant companions for some time now. I not only connected with them on paper but in my heart as well. To write the words; ‘The End,’ was one of the most emotional things I have ever done. I think I was halfway into the third book when I had a sudden realization that this journey was coming to a close and for a moment I contemplated scrapping that plan and continuing the series.

I became aware though that I wasn’t doing this for the story’s sake but my own, and that’s when I knew I had to find the courage to finish writing Isle of Dawn. I owed it not only to myself, but to my readers and my characters.

I’m now into my final edits, and I still have this sense of amazement that 1) I actually wrote this book and 2) I actually finished writing a trilogy!

I suppose in a way I am feeding a monster because my next series is going to be a continuation of The Skye Trilogy. My old characters will be making sporadic appearances, but it will never be the same. I have made peace with that though, and I am finally getting excited to begin writing a fresh story with new, exciting, people and creatures that I get to dream up in my mind.

There is a part of me that’s worried. What if I don’t connect to my new characters? Do I have it in me to write four books next time instead of three? What if it sucks? What if I come down with a dreaded case of writers block?

Then there’s the other part of me that takes over and laughs at my newfound insecurities. That part is also the one that cocks her eyebrow and swears like a sailor. You can’t go through your existence with the words what if as the first words in your sentence. You have to go balls to the wall and say, “Hell ya, I can do it,” because at the end of the day being able to move forward is the only way to truly live life.



For this month’s collaboration Shannon and I decided to write about saying goodbye, to our characters. Although each of us just recently released the second book in our Paranormal trilogies, we both also just completed writing the third and final chapters of our trilogies. Each of us cried and binged on ice cream and no one really understood except other writers.  So we needed an emotional release and decided to blog it out this month. 

We’ve moved three times since my oldest son was born which wasn’t too big of deal for me because I moved quite often when I was a kid.  I learned long ago not to be attached to things like houses or schools because change was all around us.  But when I became pregnant with my second son something inside me changed and I felt this constant tug, this ever-present nag that I needed to buy a house. I needed to plant some roots, because leaving the houses where I had watched my son crawl for the first time, or where he projectile vomited on me for the first time (yes projectile, it is real) it became harder and harder.  It was like those memories were no longer as close and after my second son was born I felt those first memories of motherhood begin to fade away and I needed a physical structure that could house those memories.  

I needed to be able to walk past a room and remember what had happened there, who got their first bloody nose there because my mind wasn’t large enough.  So we bought our house and that is exactly what happens but guess what else I realized?  So much of those memories are in my books.  

When I re-read something I’ve written, I see more than just the characters and the setting in my mind, I see exactly where I was when I was writing it.  Just like I picture my one year old running through the kitchen pushing a dump truck even when he’s not home, I see him playing in his kiddy pool in our backyard when I read the second book in my trilogy. Because I wrote that book in the summer, while my boys played in the backyard, I’d sit with my laptop on the back patio.    

My characters in the Harlow Whittaker Trilogy have been fighting to tell their story for the past four years. They have been a part of my life for four years.   This is why when I typed the final sentence in my trilogy I cried.  It’s more than saying goodbye to a story that has been playing in your mind for years, but also saying goodbye to everything that happened in those four years.  Writing is my escape so during times of stress, or even bliss I would write, because I would need to capture those emotions.  I would remind myself of certain things to add depth to my characters, to make sure that their feelings were genuine.  You honestly do give a piece of yourself in everything you create and when that’s over, when the project is complete, you mourn for that piece.

Shannon and I each dove into new projects after the completion of our trilogies and I hope it’s not just a rebound from my last relationship (HW Trilogy).  But I’m sure when this new book is finished I will feel the same sadness that often accompanies goodbyes.  It will be just as bittersweet. The contrast between the pride of completing something that has been unfinished for so long mixed with the emptiness that comes from having to never see the people that you’ve had thousands of conversations with.  I think this hit me so hard because I have never finished a work of fiction.  Even though I have been writing since I was nine years old, I never finished anything until my Master’s Thesis.  That was the first time I wrote something massive (220 pages) that had a beginning, middle, and end.  So all the charterers I’d created in my past still lived on until I just forgot about them.  With Harlow, having to dream up the final moments for these characters that I loved, that I had created worlds for, making sure that I gave them what they truly deserved weighed heavily on me as well.  So Cheers, I think the conclusion here is, art is difficult in more ways than one, and if you just completed a book, my heart goes out to you 🙂  


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